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Santam Insurance Wants to Increase Market Share

September 2 - The short term insurance giant, Santam, has indicated plans to increase its market share in South Africa to control at least a quarter of it within the next two to three years.

The group already controls nearly 23% of the South African short term insurance market, and aims to increase it to 25%.

The group said that it will be investing capital in the direct insurance market, where it believes it has more scope for growth.

The Chief Executive Officer of Santam, Ian Kirk, said that the increase will come through new innovations and products which will be priced competitively.

Santam also hopes to introduce industry specific products in South Africa's commercial sector.

"There are one or two areas where we are punching below our weight and we will try and get a big more aggressive there," said Kirk. "I think in the affinity market we got into that market fairly late.  In the direct space (MiWay) we also got in there fairly late because of our focus on the intermediated market."

In the first half of 2011, Santam saw a 16% increase in headline earnings per share to 593c.

Santam showed that its gross written premiums increased by 7% to R8.2 billion and declared an interim dividend of 200c per share against 185c in the previous period.

The group said that it was not appropriate to declare a special dividend due to the volatility in local and international markets.

Watching Discovery Closely

In an interview, Kirk was asked about the successful entrance of Discovery into South Africa's short term insurance market and whether Santam felt pressure from the group.

"We are not on the numbers but we are watching it very carefully," he said. "Discovery has a very successful business - we would be naive to think that they won't be successful. They will take some market share but we are watching the positioning very carefully. I think we are welcoming the competition. It forces us to be on our toes."

Related Insurance Articles:
* Insurance Industry Announces Better Collaboration
* NHI Could Push South Africa into Recession
* Billions Needed for National Health Insurance
* SA Government Reports on AIDS Campaign

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2011/09/02 08:43:04 AM
02 September 2011

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